Evernote was, for a long time, a great app for capturing notes, saving images and clipping webpages. For students, researchers, writers and others focussed on the capture of random bits of information, it was the leader in pulling tougher disparate bits of information. But somewhere along the line, the company lost focus and the releases on different platforms started to diverge. The Windows version became less feature rich than the Mac version, a touch version for newer Windows devices came and went, the mobile versions became pared down versions rather than mobile views of the full app and users reported lots of syncing issues. The company's new CEO acknowledges that things aren't going well and vows to address the issues.
In a new blog post Ian Small says "inventing the future requires being able to stand on a solid foundation. And whether I look at Evernote from the inside out, or listen to many of you from the outside in, it is clear that we have some work to do on those foundations".
He points out many of the problems Evernote's users face and, rather than trying to explain them, his focus is on fixing them. Small says the Evernote team has three goals.
- Creating a more coherent, more consistent Evernote experience for every version of the product starting from Evernote Basic on up and fixing the app's essential features.
- Making fundamental changes to how the company develops and delivers software so it can start to ship faster across all the devices we support and to make the multi-platform experience more consistent
- Improve the core infrastructure that sits behind the applications so it can deliver Evernote with the speed, reliability, and scalability.
Part of that is a 30 day challenge to help Evernote's users get more from the app.
Last year, Evernote laid off a large portion of its workforce and saw the exit of a number of executives. Small will have his work cut out for him as he seeks to take the one time leader of all note-taking apps and bringing it forward to a world where OneNote is becoming a de facto standard as more people use Microsoft Office 365 and new entrants such as Notability and others seek to fill the gap left by Evernote's poor support for pen-based computing devices.
I've been a long time Evernote user - I still use it every day. But that use is limited and complemented by other apps that fill the gaps Evernote leaves. For the most part, I'm using those other apps as I have so much data in Evernote already that I'm loathe to spend the time it would take to move to a different platform. But if Evernote can drag itself into 2019 and embrace pen-based devices better as well as fix the app and infrastructure problems then it could become a serious challenger to the likes of OneNote again.